My wife and I are in our 20s. We've been married for about a year and a half. We've been together off and on since 2005. I love my wife very much.
But I'm not getting what I need out of this relationship: sex. She's never been a sex maniac, but these days things are becoming a bit extreme. Sex is so important to me physically and mentally. Without it all aspects of my life suffer. I become an unhappy, depressed and boring person. My confidence is shot and I feel like a perverted fiend.
I consider our current sex frequency to be abnormally low, like two or three times a month if we're lucky. No fellatio, no cunnilingus, no touching of any kind. She doesn't want me to touch her, and she definitely doesn't want to touch me.
I've tried all kinds of different approaches, like trying to initiate sex more frequently or less frequently, being more aggressive or more passive, talking about it or ignoring it. It's always my role to start things up, so I try and try. As soon as I come close to my wife, she clasps her arms over her chest like she's about to go down a waterslide and says some painful things like "Stop harassing me!"
The constant rejection is really messing me up, especially when I just want to give her a hug or kiss.
I have never abused my wife, but she acts like I rape her. Aside from our sex problems, we get along really well. We laugh and talk together. When we go places we always have a good time. Some of our friends tell us how great we are together. My wife is my best friend. But I want her to be a friend with benefits, too. A lover.
I tried to set up an appointment with a marriage counsellor recently, but the doctor was super-weird, and I didn't get a good vibe. Others I have called are really rude and irritated on the phone. Truth is, all those I've found are pretty pricey, more than I can afford, but I'm desperate.
I see three possible directions for my life: Divorce, something I want to avoid at all costs. Cheating, also something I want to avoid. (And, no, my wife won't knowingly allow me to find satisfaction with another person. I've asked. I'm not too keen on the idea anyway.) The path I want to follow would lead me to a way to melt my wife's frozen libido.
Oh, I forgot to add, on the rare occasion that we do have sex, I always make sure my wife gets hers, and she'll even admit that she's enjoyed herself. This confuses me even more.
Open to Suggestions
Have you gotten to the point where you're standing over your wife on the bed, tugging at her underwear, sobbing in desperation? That's hot. That's a favourite memory in my recent sexual history. I haven't suggested it in my column yet because I was waiting to lay it on all of you for a sexy spring romance tip.
Your wife doesn't want to have sex with you. Clearly the idea disgusts her. When you do manage to convince her that this is kind of part of your loving contract as a couple and she allows you to have sex with (or perhaps it's more like "on" or "at") her, she admits it's good. Generally though, when you touch her (and I adore this description, it's so evocative) she pulls her arms across her chest like she's going down a waterslide.
Yet you call her your best friend. If my best friend wouldn't let me hug or touch her, I'd be hurt and confused. I would appreciate some clarification from her or at least some support: "I feel a lot of pressure when you touch me. I love you but I have bad memories of being touched this way. I don't want to be best friends with you any more, but I'm too afraid to leave you."
But since you're married and therefore not technically best friends, she doesn't owe you anything? She can just close up without explanation? This is madness. Why does your wife think it's okay to treat your desires with actual repulsion and still stay with you? I apologize if this seems heartless, but if there is something troubling her, she owes you an explanation. She owes it to you to be honest about why she's shutting you out. You cannot hold someone's sexuality hostage simply because you have an exclusive and legally binding contract.
You must both be willing to seek outside counsel. Finding a good therapist who also offers a sliding scale is hard but worth it. Google your specific needs, ask at free health clinics and if you know any dykes, ask them. In my experience, dykes often have the inside track on good, cheap couples therapy.
This question, Open, in one form or another, is the reason I have a sex column and why, if I choose to continue doing so, could have one until I'm able to tie my tits in a bow. It's the bread and butter of women's magazines, sex shops, marriage counsellors, hookers and the myriad other service providers who work the sex trade.
There are answers, but for the most part, we refuse to access them, because denial is better than loneliness - well, solo loneliness anyway. Apparently it's fine to isolate yourself within the pacifying and socially acceptable framework of a union. (Your friends think you're a great couple? Really? That must be so comforting when you're feeling completely rejected.)
I've been on both ends of this one. I've been the one getting ready to hurtle down the waterslide and I've been the one prostrating myself for affection. My thoughts? Seeking affection without self-reflection and from the wrong people has turned me into a shitty, angry drunk.
It's time to change my basic approach and take a good hard look at the way I've been seeking out and living in partnerships and what my expectations of myself and the person I bring into my life are. So no bonding for me until I land in a good solid place.
You? You deserve affection, love and honesty. I really believe that. I don't think it's your wife's "job" to provide that for you, but I do believe when you enter a contract with someone that involves the exchange of intimacy, you should be willing to talk about it when things change. This means you also need to be open to hearing things that might not make you feel so awesome about your manhood, along with your little dudehood. It's hard to be compassionate when things are in this anxious, ugly place, but please try. Again, this is where a good therapist is invaluable. Consider seeing one on your own as well.